Vernon honors ‘Tamale King’ with mural

Harvey Dean spent four decades selling tamales to North Texas residents
Updated: Jun. 19, 2021 at 7:21 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - The City of Vernon honored longtime business owner and entrepreneur with his very own mural in Downtown Vernon.

Harvey Dean was more than a business owner he was a father, a neighbor, he was the ‘Tamale King’ that spent four decades selling thousands of tamales to North Texas residents.

“I went to the store with him to get the ingredients for tamales, then we went through the whole process of making them. So that was a special moment he shared with me,” said Michael Dean son of Harvey Dean.

Harvey Dean had three children along with granddaughters that traveled from California to celebrate his life’s work and reflect on fond memories of their dad.

“He told me that you have to crawl before you walk son,” said Joe Dean son of Harvey Dean.

“I remember him saying don’t watch what people say watch what they do. That’s where the real proof is and I’ve taken that with me throughout my lifetime,” said George Dean son of Harvey Dean.

It took Wichita Falls artists Ferdine LeBlanc, along with two other muralists three weeks to create the mural.

“It feels like having your work up in a museum and it was just an amazing experience. We got nothing but positive feedback today,” said Ferdine LeBlanc artist of Harvey Dean mural.

LeBlanc used pictures and studied dean’s original tamale cart for inspiration.

“He used bicycle parts to build his cart which was also really inspirational and an amazing thing if you think about it. He was a regular person starting off with nothing then building himself up to put his kids through college,” said LeBlanc.

Dean three son’s say their father only took two days off a year and being recognized for his years of hard work is a dream come true.

“If he wasn’t on the street you just kept circling downtown until you found him. What I remember most is his smile and of course the tamales,” said Pam Gosline Mayor of Vernon Texas.

“I was raised in this building and I was six years old when he was here. So I definitely knew Harvey Dean,” said Tip Igou owner of Igou Appliances.

“We grew up in a time when there were color fountains and white fountains. So for the city to come out and do this for our dad is indeed an honor,” said George and Joe Dean sons of Harvey Dean.

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